Latest on the Sabres and Red Wings – August 22, 2016

by | Aug 22, 2016 | Rumors | 65 comments

Should the Buffalo Sabres consider signing Jiri Hudler?

Should the Buffalo Sabres consider signing Jiri Hudler?

 Options for the Buffalo Sabres after losing out in the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and an update on Tomas Tatar.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington believes few came off well during the recent Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes, particularly Vesey, his agents and the teams that attempted to woo the youngster. With the Buffalo Sabres losing out on retaining the youngster, Harrington suggests they look at unrestricted free agent winger Jiri Hudler, who had 46 points last season and a career-high 76 in 2014-15. A younger, cheaper option would be Brandon Pirri, who had 29 points in 61 games last season and scored 22 goals in 2014-15.

He also speculates this will bring an end to the Evander Kane trade talk, noting the Vancouver Canucks were the only club that seemed to remotely have any interest in the troubled winger. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have just over $8 million in cap room if they wish to pursue a free-agent forward. Hudler earned $4 million per season on his last contract but could probably be had for around $3 million per on a short-term deal. Pirri would be even more affordable. Given Kane’s off-ice issues, $5.25 million annual cap hit through 2017-18 and injury history, I doubt there’s a market for him now. 

MLIVE.COM:  In a profile Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar, Ansar Khan suggests the 25-year-old remains “one of the team’s most viable trading chips in its pursuit for a top-three defenseman. But it would be sacrificing a good chunk of offense.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khan points out Tatar is in his contract year and could seek a deal similar to teammate Gustav Nyquist, who’s earning an annual cap hit of $4.75 million through 2018-19. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent and holds arbitration rights.

GM Ken Holland is reportedly still seeking that top-three blueliner, which could carry on into the upcoming season. Much will depend upon Tatar’s performance. If he plays well, it’ll boost his trade value but it could also make Holland reluctant to move the winger.


  1. What’s the knock against Pirri so much that he wouldn’t be signed to an affordable deal? His numbers have been a bit erratic but at the same time he has shown some promise and enough stats worthy of a one-way deal.

    Regardless, I think Vesey created such talk about himself (the media didn’t help) that he will have a harder time living up to the expectations.

    • Pirri can score but his play making ability seems suspect, especially as a center, with just 2 assists in the same year he scored 22 goals.

      Have to wonder if there are other issues preventing teams from signing a young 20 goal scorer as well.

    • I read on some sports page online, maybe an earlier post on this site, that Pirri is as irresponsible defensively as Sven Baertschi was in Calgary.

  2. After years of being high on a pedestal as a “hockey genius” I think the cracks are beginning to show for Holland in Detroit. It probably started with that idiotic contract given to Howard, topped this year by the even more ridiculous deal handed to deKyser. To borrow partially from Winston Churchill, it may not be the end, but it’ sure the beginning of the end as they spiral back towards their “Dead Things” days.

    • It does seem that things are starting to go down hill for the Red Wings; however, I think history will be kind to Holland overall as he revitalized a once dead franchise into a perrenial powerhouse. Unfortunately, George you seem to be in awe of the “what have you done for me lately” camp. Over 20 consecutive seasons in the playoffs is something to be proud of!

      • It’s always what have you done for me lately in sports Steve. He’s done more harm than good under a salary cap.

      • I’m not in any “camp.” Just stating the facts about two bad contracts after years of being extremely careful in that regard.

    • You left out Wiess, Cleary, Kronwall and Erickson. Cracks is a very polite term to use in my opinion. Don’t forget the odd Ott signing and the reupping Miller for a year (I have the utmost respect for Miller but it’s a roster spot that Mantha, Bertuzzi or Frk should have the chance to earn). Glendening signing I’m 60/40 to the good for same reason above.

      • 7 years on Abdelkader is a head scratcher

      • Almost as bad as the deKeyser deal for sure. Abdelkader is hockey’s version of Mr. April-May in baseball – bright early season flare of brilliance followed by lengthy dry spells. OK to have around – but 7 YEARS???

    • Agreed, Holland has given to many big contracts to underachievers. I dont see how hes going to be able to move Howard, too much monney and too little return on it.

    • I think part of that is being in a position now where Detroit can’t just outbid teams for UFA’s in the cap world. Detroit has never been able to overcome the loss of Lidstrom, Rafalski & Stuart in such a short period of time & due to draft position hasn’t been able to address those losses.

      Holland has made some very questionable moves over the last 3 seasons starting with letting Filppula walk & signing Weiss for essentially the same money & term. The reluctance to introduce younger players & reducing the roles of veterans sooner was part of the reason Babcock choose to leave. Rumours started circulating that Babcock wanted other players playing in the NHL but Holland vetoed those choices for business development reasons burying those players longer in the AHL.

      Blashill’s deployment of players last season in Detroit made no sense. Specifically his use of Tatar; or lack there of, & Abdelkader; far to much, & others. Detroit’s playoff rein is over. Nielsen will help, even Vanek but not enough to off set the loss of Datsyuk & declining skills of Zetterberg, Kronwall & Green nor Blashill’s choices of line combinations or player deployment on the PP.

      Resigning Miller was a waste of a roster spot holding back a younger player. Giving Helm 5 years at 3.85 a joke. Even signing Nielsen at 5.25 for 6 years at 32 wreaks of desperation.

      • Yeah, Holland has made some very questionable decisions these last few offseasons. The Ott signing is unnecessary. I don’t mind the Vanek deal since it’s for one season. The Miller deal didn’t need to happen. Neither did the Glendening or Shehean deals. Either too much term or too much money was handed out to players that are fairly easily replaced. And now there’s reports that we’ve offered Cleary an AHL deal?! Ugh

      • I’d never thought I’d hear anyone say Detroit doesn’t give their young guys a chance. Year after year some young guy in a Detroit roster surprises me. I expect another will this year. I also always felt Detroit brought there young guys up slowly due to the system they played. It is a difficult one and takes time for players to adjust to it.

        Maclean tried it in Ottawa and found out all the youth on the team was unable to consistently pull it off. Detroit system requires skilled players who know it well.

        This has always been my thoughts of Detroit a game.

      • Jeff.

        Larkin was the 1st 19 year old rookie to make Detroit in 25 years. Their rookies primarily enter the NHL when they have maxed out their waiver eligibility & Detroit has no choice but to play them or at the very least give them 1 of their 23 man active roster spots.

        This worked before the cap, they could supplement their roster more easily with essentially unlimited resources & no cap. In today’s world you need the flexibility ELC contracts provide.

      • You need to get your facts straight. Getting rid of Filppula, absolutely signing Weiss, and especially giving Ericckson such a long term contract were all MIKE BABCOCK ideas and he is soley responsible for these three transactions. You are Wing’s hater pretending to be a fan. Lets see what happens this year, before we start bashing the Wings.

        PS: Bringing up one year contracts (Miller, Ott) shows your lack of knowledge of how to juggle a roster for the best results.

    • When you consider the quality of players that the Red Wings have lost since their glory days, it’s hard to criticize Ken Holland – they have had an incredible run. The Wings are at that point, though, where a re-build is the answer – picks and prospects to build the system again. Detroit’s problem, one that many, many teams would love to have, is that they have been good for so long. Could be a tough sell to Red Wings fans.

    • Yes…Agree. I think with the team they got going into this season definitely opens the door for another team to take their spot in the playoffs this year.

  3. I think Buffalo is set baring a deal for a top 2 Dman, a player like Fowler, Shattenkirk or similar & they don’t come cheap nor are they easy to find. Just ask Edmonton.

    Kane, O’Reilly, Okposo.
    Ennis, Eichel, Reinhart.
    Moulson, Girgensons, Gionta.
    Foligno, Larsson, Deslauriers.
    Spare. McCormick.

    Kulikov, Ristolainen.
    McCabe, Bogosian.
    Georges, Franson.
    Falk, Nelson.

    Lehner, Nilsson.

    As always move wingers around as you wish, coaches constantly shuffle players around for a whole range of reasons but baring injuries due to waiver rules this is what you get until injuries or trades alter the mix.

    I see this team competing for a playoff spot. Not certain they can make it but moving into bubble territory. Much will depend of injuries to key personal & Lehner’s ability to play at least 55 games.

    • Striker…..McCormick is done. He retired & I believe took a job within the organization.

      • He’s still shown on their roster in the final year of a 3 year deal paying him 1.5. He hasn’t filed retirement papers as yet.

        Feel free to sub Fasching to #4 RW & bump Deslauriers to spare if McCormick is infact done.

      • Oh, were it only true. The Cap space listed in this article does not include UFA’s Girgensons and Ristolainen (probably about $7-8.5M) so there is very little room for more signings, without trades being involved. McCormick is on LTIR and has not retired. And his Cap counts. Guhle’s contract, if he is returned to the juniors, does not count in the 50 man roster. Actually, the Sabres have room on the 50 and 90 man rosters to add more players. With the UFA’s signing, totals would be 44 and 71, my last count. However, Buffalo is now in the Cap space battle.

    • If Buffalo is looking for some defensive depth, they could always sign Quincey to a one year deal. Not really top 2, but definitely top 4.

      • Buffalo’s top 6 D is set unless they can find a #2 or better.

      • Quincey would be a decent add for any team looking for a 3 through 5 dman. Not a 1 or 2 but he can still log good minutes and play fairly solidly.

    • Agree Striker they certainly made move to get better this off season. Could be fun to watch. I think the bubble regarding the last couple of playoff spots this season in both conferences could be a log jam.

  4. I read somewhere Pirri refuses to play ANY defence. Not much use for that on most teams unless you are prolific and he is not.

    • Yep. If he could score like Kessel who cares about his defense if he’s surrounded by the right type of players. But he ain’t no Kessel.

      • Ain’t is not a word George! Remember syntax?

      • As you get older you ain’t got no more memory.

    • Something like that was posted yesterday or the day before. I would think this is the reason he isnt signed , I cant see it being any ” more .”
      Teams are looking for upgrades and Pirri needs to be more then 1 dimensional.
      That being said I’d take a low risk chance on him and hope my coaching staff can get something more of a 200 ft game out of him, while keeping the scoring touch.
      The reward could be far greater then the risk.

      • I read an article from when he was in Florida stating his work out and practising is below par

  5. IMO the issue with Detroit is the reluctance to re-build. I agree that it would be hard for any team to lose guys like lindstrom and rafalski, but I think Holland has been trying to put off the re-build for to long. Now you have middle pairing dmen and top nine forwards signed to long and expensive contracts. Buffalo lost Drury and Briere the same offseaon and Campbell the off season following. They are just starting to climb back into respectability, because Regier kept trying to make the team win now, which they just couldnt do. Sometimes its best to fall on the sword admit you were wrong and start down a new path, not sure Holland would get that chance however.

  6. here’s hoping Vesey falls flat on his face. He played the b”s and then sold out to the Rangers!

    • I’m curious, how did he play the B’s? By talking to them? Or did he have a deal in place when his rights were owned by Buffalo or Nashville?

      If talking to you them is “playing them” I guess 6-7 other teams should feel hosed as well.

      If he had a deal in place when his rights were owned, both he and the B’s ….

      • A classic example of not being able to eat crow without “Whine”
        Since the Vesey saga started it’s all been Vesey to Bruins.
        Great player if on my team, bum if not !

    • He did what was best for him, not the Bruins and certainly not for you!

    • The ones that actually got screwed, if anybody did was Nashville. Bruins were only in the mix with a bunch of other teams. Not sure how they got played.

    • You must have a rotten life if you wish ill to someone you haven’t even met. Sheesh!

  7. Even though Kane has a ton of baggage, he still has top line skill. If Buffalo is determined to move on from his headaches, I’d love to see the Flyers make a pitch for him. Put Kane on a line with Giroux and Simmonds and he goes off in my opinion. If the asking price is reasonable.

    • Noooooo!!!!! Not Kane…..Flyers should put Kopechny (spelling?) with Giroux.

      I do NOT want Kane on the Flyers, the guys an overpaid, over rated, injury prone idiot. Roster spots if any available in Philly need to go to young guys.

      • Kane is still pretty young, I think Travis maybe plays on the 3rd line initially if he breaks camp with the team. Maybe he has a shot at the 2nd with Coots at C and Schenn at LW. I don’t see Next putting that much pressure on him so quickly. I actually think he maybe goes back to junior or the A( if he’s eligible) given the cautious route they’ve been taking.

      • I saw Konecny play a lot here in Ottawa with the 67s and there is no doubting his skill-set. But there was a reason he dropped to 24 in the 2015 draft, including being by-passed by Ottawa twice – at # 18 and again at # 21 – he’s 5′ 10″ and weighs in at 176 lbs. On the ice he reminded me a lot of Corey Locke who scored tons of goals in the OHL but only ever played 9 NHL games because he was 5′ 9″ 175 lbs and couldn’t handle the bigger players. Mind you, Konecny overall is better – but it will be interesting to see how he handles the bigger and faster NHL opposition.

      • Kane would be a good fit in Philly! Only wrong Ron would think konecny is a better fit than Kane

      • George, Konecny had concussion problems, that was what they reported. Didn`t he miss a bunch of games that year.

      • Konecny is a slick player and was probably a steal at #24 but I think a big body on the left side is a key to Giroux’s play. I know Jagr is different from Kane but he’s a big dude and G excelled with Jags and Scotty flanking him. Little guys have a place in the modern game, so he’ll play and be productive, I just think Kane and a low cost would be a great add to the team.

    • Agreed Kenn, another fit is Perry and Getzlaf. He needs to play with people that make him accountable but not ostracized. Byfuglien’s handling of Kane, although necessary, proved excessive. I hope for the good of hockey this kid gets his stuff together and proves his true worth.

      • Yogi, in a season split between Ottawa and Sarnia, Konecny played 60 games of a 68-gamer schedule, scoring 30 goals and 71 assists, so he didn’t miss all that much.

  8. No mention in comments of Enroth signing in Toronto today?

    • Too big of news…..full page tomorrow ?

      • Wouldn’t want to hi jack a thread…cause you know big bear plays no part in that with dumb ass troll comments like this.

      • He is a career backup what’s to talk about? Did you forget about ” trolling” NYR4LIFE? Or is that ok?

    • Enroth is a solid add,the Leafs will have the best tandem this year than they’ve had in awhile. I’m no Leaf fan, can’t stand Toronto but the new regime is getting things sorted out and in 2,3 years them will be relevant again, well, relevant…ish.

    • Heard from a somewhat reliable source they’d been taking a long look at Ramo. Enroth hasn’t really had any success over over his 7 seasons…except for his first season as a back up. If they can keep him to 15 games or less he might be ok but it seems when he plays more than 20 he just tanks it.

      Would have loved to see Ramo land on his feet after the Flames organization all but destroyed his career with their embarrassing 3 goalie fiasco last season.

  9. That’s right. We are not to talk about career back up,fringe players.
    Now back to Pirri.?

    • Touche?

      • Let’s not forget about the PTO extended to Prust!

  10. Yap yap yap nothing to talk about yet here you are the yapping dolt , NYR has it wrong it’s not that I care that people talk trash about players they obviously don’t watch, it’s the part that they are the same people (like yourself) that complain they see too much Leaf stuff,. Here is a clue because you’re obviously not very bright or maybe you could think up a name that didn’t start with the second letter in the 2nd letter in the alphabet . the reason you see so much Leaf stuff is because idiots like your self bring it up for the most part. Example A is your dumb post above,

    • ” second letter in the 2nd letter” ? ??? pretty simple it was a joke that’s it that’s all do you really have to respond?? All you do is troll other teams but as soon as it’s about the leafs you flip out! You just bashed abdelkators contract is your opinion the only one that’s right and no one can have an opinion about the leafs? Get over yourself don’t respond!!

      • It really did seem just like a joke regarding the weight of the news not Toronto

        Ya know….Breaking news flash…Enroth sign with Toronto…Full story at 11.

        Insert any team name. To me Enroth is the punchline not Toronto.

        I could be wrong

      • Opinions regarding the Leafs are well founded, even though I am a fan. No Cup, or Cup final appearance since 67 provides enough evidence. A few flashes of success since then (93,94 and 99-02; when I lived there) is hardly much to brag about.

        However, I do think people need to take the current rebuild seriously. The Leafs are no question trending in the right direction.

        Leaf fans deserve credit for sticking with it over the years!

      • I think what puzzles many is the very fact that fans did “stick with it” over the past half century. In that I don’t mean residents of the GTA – most fans living in a team’s area tend to remain faithful (just look at Cubs fans) – but what has kept those living in other cities so faithful? What did they do in that almost 5O years to generate a following by younger fans. I was 29 when they last won a cup. Anyone who was 35 or more is likely dead or eating pablum in an old folk’s home. Anyone born that year is going on 50. If they live in the cities what some find hard to fathom is, what did the Leafs do to generate such a following? Nothing nasty intended here – just that kids more or less tend to latch onto winning teams and personalities on winners. Just curious what others think.

      • Should read “if they live in other cities …”

  11. JVR & Bozak for Bjugstad, Jokinen & a pick or prospect?

    • What are you smoking?